That Special Spring Exhaustion

By: Julie Day
Tiller sitting in plowed garden

Our garden spot tilled three times in different directions.

With spring threatening to give way to summer, it was high time we got some things planted. So, we had what can only be described as an epic work weekend around here! This evening, I’m settled to do a little writing, because my fingers (the 9 of them that aren’t bandaged) are the only parts of my body that can still move!

It was an absolutely perfect weekend for working outdoors – the sun was gleaming in a brilliant sky, bluebirds were singing, butterflies were fluttering, and my (t)rusty little garden pickup was purring like a kitten.

Here’s a little breakdown of our weekend’s work:

Garden Prep Time

Truck backed up to garden, planting vegetables

Garden layout and composting.

Day one was the tiller rental day, to plow up a 15’x30’ veggie garden space out back. Man, is that hard work! The area was thick with pasture grasses, so we plowed it three times, alternating directions, to break up the clumpy sod and smooth the soil.

The next morning, I – along with the rest of the county – made an early start to the garden center to load up on over 100 veggies, herbs, and flowers; then I stopped by the landscape supply yard for a truckload of compost. And then, with the help of my mother-in-law (who was visiting and got more than she bargained for!) I got to work shoveling compost and nestling these babies into their new homes!

Vegetable Garden

Our garden has most of the summer veggies, including:

    Vegetable garden planted

    Seeds and seedlings.

  • ‘German Johnson’ tomatoes
  • ‘Early Girl’ tomatoes
  • ‘Roma’ tomatoes
  • ‘Juliet’ and ‘Supersweet’ cherry tomatoes
  • Purple, orange, and red bell peppers
  • Cayenne peppers
  • ‘Peaches ‘N Cream’ sweet corn
  • ‘Blue Lake’ green beans
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow squash
  • Sunflowers
  • Marigolds (as natural insect repellent)
  • Globe amaranth (for a supposedly deer-resistant colorful border)

Herb Garden

Onward to the herb garden, which is really just a narrow border around our tool shed. This little garden is handy to the kitchen and provides a perfect wall for growing vines and climbers.

Herb garden planted

Herb garden with basil and cukes.

In this area I planted:

  • Pickling cucumbers
  • Slicing cucumbers
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Basil

Vineyard

And if that weren’t enough planting, by late afternoon I went down to the vineyard, where my husband and father-in-law were hard at work on a new planting of grapes! As the sun lowered in the sky, we hand-nestled 36 new vines (18 Chardonnay, 18 Cabernet Sauvignon) into holes that Matt and I had dug with an auger a few days before.

One Tired Bunch!

Planted grapevine

Grow, grapevine, grow!

Oh, and did I mention that sometime in there, my in-laws jumped on the big tractor to mow several dozen acres of farm fields? I’ve never seen a group of people with so much energy; but once it ran out, it really ran out! We all finished up barely in time to head out for a little dinner before collapsing.

Today, my muscles are too sore even to enjoy a massage, I’m sunburned in all sorts of weird places (who knew my shirt was a little short in back?), and I’ve got a sampling of the various bug bites and poison ivies that farm life has to offer.

But I’m one happy gardener! Now, to keep the deer from eating the veggies . . . .

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